June 17, 2018
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No sign of foul play in Rev. Carlson’s death, police say

Bridget Brown | BDN
Bridget Brown | BDN
The Rev. Bob Carlson in June 2010.
By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

BUCKSPORT, Maine — Police said Monday morning that while they are continuing to investigate the death Sunday of the Rev. Bob Carlson, there’s no indication that there was foul play in what apparently was a suicide.

A woman from Bucksport made an emergency 911 call at 3:55 a.m. Sunday to report that a vehicle had been abandoned in the middle of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, according to a press release issued by the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office.

When deputies arrived at the bridge, they found identification belonging to Carlson in the vehicle, which was parked on the right side of the eastbound lane.

Officials began to search the river and found his body in the water later in the morning, according to Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton of the sheriff’s office.

Carlson’s body has been taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for an autopsy.

“At this point in the investigation, there is no indication of any other persons involved, nor is there any indication of foul play,” the press release stated.

Police expect that the investigation will be wrapped up later this week at the earliest, with Detective Merl Reed of the sheriff’s office assigned to be primary investigator on the case.

Meanwhile Monday, Kenneth Schmidt, chief executive officer of Penobscot Community Health Care, issued a statement lamenting Carlson’s death.

“The death of Rev. Bob Carlson is a huge loss for the people of Maine, the Greater Bangor community, and the board of directors and employees of Penobscot Community Health Care,” Schmidt said. “Rev. Bob was the chaplain and president of PCHC for many years. At PCHC and countless other organizations, but most importantly for simply thousands of very real individual people, Rev. Bob gave us the unusual gift of making each of us feel totally special — he gave his personal attention and caring to us as people.”

Schmidt added: “Thousands of us have stories of how he deeply touched our lives. He didn’t just know us; he touched us, helping us through deep pain and loss, as well as sharing our greatest joys. Rev Bob said over and over, ‘It’s all about relationships’ – nothing could be more truly said about him. Few of us have ever met anyone so giving and selfless.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District said Monday she was “stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Reverend Carlson. Bob was generous with his time and spirit and deeply committed to improving the lives of the less fortunate in his community. He was a man of boundless energy who cared deeply about those who were struggling. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Elaine, and his entire family in this very difficult time.”

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